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Black husband an wife trying to decide next trip


My wife and I want to travel to Greece, Italy or Spain. Which is the best for Black people? And yes I use Black because no one else is adding American to the end of their race.

Posted by
4429 posts

I won't downplay your concerns because you wouldn't have asked if you didn't have them.. But I am sure you know it is often the case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I assume that you are considering major tourist cities, in which case you should be fine and your dress and demeanor will identify you as a tourist rather than migrants. There are some countries where the increase in nationalism is cause for concern. If you were heading further east of Greece, well, that might be a different discussion.

Posted by
22982 posts

Unfortunately I am not in a position to advise well on this subject. I assume you believe that some areas are good and bad for black couples. In generally, and I say this say carefully, we have seen a lot of black couples, mixed couples, other races in our travels and have never observed any problems. Doesn't mean that there are no problems but we haven't observed some of the situations that we have observed in the US. I think you would be fine anywhere in those countries. Good luck.

Posted by
141 posts

I agree, no one should downplay anyone’s travel concerns based on race. I have personally witnessed and been the recipient of overt racist words while traveling, and have good friends that have also experienced overt racism abroad. I also very much agree that it is variable, and one person will have a wonderful trip while another person will unfortunately encounter racism.

However, those incidents were very rare, and their rarity is what makes them memorable, and I wouldn’t avoid going anywhere based on those past experiences. There are probably more places in the USA that I would avoid than in Europe.

Rick Steves has an article and suggests checking this forum, but I’d suggest the OP also check other travel blogs/forums to get more feedback from other Black travelers on their actual experiences.

I hope you have a wonderful trip regardless of where you choose!

Posted by
1204 posts

I was in Spain and Portugal this past May. We were a group of 4 women: two black, one white, one Asian. We did get “looks” or “double takes” but never encountered anything more. All service providers were friendly, courteous and professional.

Edit to add: My feeling is that the looks and double takes were more because of the multi-racial aspect of our group. Not because of any single person's ethnicity.

Posted by
85 posts

My husband and I are African American and have been to all three countries - no problems at all. Go where you want to see the sights, enjoy the food and culture.
Happy travels!

Posted by
11503 posts

I am only white so can’t speak directly to this issue , however my friend is Chinese and married to a white man and has been to all the countries you mention .

She felt the only place she encountered any issues ( mild - funny looks - being ignored for service etc ) was in Turkey in smaller towns - she also wasn’t sure if it was because they were a “ mixed “ couple or if it was just because she was a woman ( in one case particularly she remembers how when carrying their luggage down a narrow sidewalk , men would step off aside for her husband , but then not for her !!!!, she didn’t know if it was sexism or racism - no words were said .

Posted by
3526 posts

I can only reply based on my own travel experience as a Black woman married to a Black man. In Europe, we have traveled to all of the countries you listed and many more because we are not going to stay home. I'll be brutally honest. I find by a long shot that Italy to be the place where I have had the absolute most incidents that I attribute to racism. One was so bad in Venice that a White Italian hotel front desk person looked at me said, I think she does not like the color of your skin and said something like we have a lot of that here. He went on to attribute some of it to how crowded Venice is in the summer but even he had to say but this was too much. The behavior and the muttering in Italian was super obvious -- no doubt in the mind of anyone who was there -- I mean the woman literally kidney punched me as she walked past me. There have been other incidents but no need to discuss them here. It's one of the reasons that when looking for a second home in Europe, Italy was never an option.
Again, based only on my travel experience and my nephew who lived in Spain for half a year, Spain is not as bad as Italy but is more racist than some other places I have been to in Europe. I have only been to Athens, Mykonos, Naxos, Crete, and Santorini in Greece and I found them to all be fine on this issue. I am not discussing eastern European countries because none are mentioned by you but Italy can be as bad as Russia and that is saying something.
All of that being said, being an American gets you a long way in the countries you list and much of the racist behavior is aimed at persons of color who live in their countries and not at Americans and they can tell immediately that you are American. So your experience will generally be absolutely fine especially in the larger cities. If perchance you go into a very, very small village or deep into the countryside, you may be more likely to meet people who have not lived near any Black people and may do things that you find surprising or rude but it usually does not have the venal tone that I characterize as racist behavior. My two cents worth: in my opinion, the least racist countries that I have been to in Europe are France, the Netherlands, and Sweden and the most are Russia, Italy, and Spain.

Posted by
5295 posts

I am a white woman, so please take my advice as you wish. Italy and Spain have a very high number of African migrants and asylum seekers. Many work in agriculture. In those countries, the locals treat these populations frequently as second class citizens. You may be lumped into that group and may experience certain attitudes. In Greece, many migrants are present but typically from the Middle East. If I were you, I’d pick Greece. I say all of this as someone who has worked in the field of forced migration for 25 years.